Yugoslavian Bernharda Xilko‘s illustrations are stark nightmares packed with active nudes and foreboding giants exploring unfolding landscapes and black-eyed lovers. Xilko’s sexually charged figures climb scaffolding, push open folding screens, and confront over-sized replicas in barren mountain ranges where platforms unstably rest. There always seems to be a sense of teamwork, but it is teamwork that is either ignorant of the task’s ultimate result or work that feels intentionally ominous. When clothing is adorned it often feels as if it is from the decades of black and white television which provides a conceptual link for the lack of color, and the garbs warn feel blue-collar and commonplace, making these figure’s lives and mission feel almost ant-like in its diligence and insignificance. The work shares the vibe that the Twilight Zone often evokes but in a more grotesque and explicit manner.
Bernharda is also a co-founder of NOVO DOBA, an annual Belgrade comix and underground culture festival that shares his aesthetic of dark worlds. You can also see more of his work here.
” Victor “Bald Eagles” Cayro has been working in the field of comix for several years. His work has been seen in various anthologies including, Kramers Ergot 6, Project Superior, Typhon, Rub The Blood, and several others… but he has yet to create his own stand alone comic. Until now… ”
Bittersweet Romance is that stand alone comic, and it can be ordered here. It is a color blasted journey.
Chicago-based Andy Burkholder has been posting a consistant supply of mind-clearing one-pagers on his wonderful tumblr. He’s got something special going, and he’s just riding the wave real hard. His work outside of the one-page bits is just as impressive, but more focused on experimentation, as opposed to a formally consistent body of work. Check out his web, his flick, and visit him at CAKE. A buttery smooth man.
CF, offspring of Fort Thunder, and Providence-based artist/musician has consistently created some of the best comics in the underground genre. His work in undeniably his own, and although it is often duplicated, his work remains distinguished from the rest. The delicacy and humor of his masterwork, POWR MASTRS (1,2,3), puts him easily in my top 10 for contemporary comic artists. He blogs and twits, he is a Picturebox regular, and he performs under the moniker Kites while he blasts out sonic booms. He is a gem.
SF-based Shalo P manhandles the space occupied by figurative pop references, and slices up the time it takes for skin and blood to drip out of frames inside of frames. It’s heaps of muscles, genitals, childhood idols, and crushed steel, for the eyes to get sloppy with. I especially enjoy what he has been doing with his coloring method, which has a lo-fi Photoshop (MS Paint aspirations) collage feel. He must be, he just has to be, having a great time. You can go deeper in this Fecal Face interview, catch his latest tumbles, or flick it, and no matter what path you choose you are bound to get excited about this guy’s work. To get physical, pick up DEATH TRIP, a collaborative zine with Peter Gray Hurley, put out by Drippy Bones Books.
I came across Ken Reid‘s work through various internet wanderings, and his humor and technical skills still blow me away every moment I look at them. His work bears resemblance to Basil Wolverton‘s, and both mastered the art of the humorously grotesque image which dominated 70’s comic magazines. It’s easy to see how work like this went on to influence ZAP Comix and WEIRDO, and these in turn went on to influence a large portion of contemporary independent and underground comix. Below is Reid’s WORLD WIDE WEIRDIES series, an extensive collection of visual puns inspired by different locations in the world, which originally appeared in WHOOPEE! and Shiver and Shake. Some of these fly right over my head, but its makes no difference when the imagery is as compelling as it is. ‘Nuff said.